Recent years have witnessed a ‘renaissance’ of studies on the connection between economics and nationalism. Political economists have questioned their disciplines’ traditional (and mistaken) equation of economic nationalism with protectionism, and have developed new analytical perspectives to study economic nationhood beyond trade policy. Others have embedded such analyses into the broader concept of ‘economic patriotism’, which also includes the study of local and supranational (e.g. European) economic identities.
At the same time, historians and ethnologists have paid increasing attention to the issue of national consumer cultures and product communication. They have highlighted the multiple ways in which a variety of products has been associated with nationhood through marketing and media communication. A new literature on ‘nation branding’ has emerged that seeks to explore the recent trend of the use of marketing tools to promote the image of entire countries among foreign consumers, investors and tourists.
Building on these innovative approaches, our project seeks to make a fourfold contribution. First, by bringing together the above mentioned strands of literature, we hope to work towards a comprehensive ‘mapping’ of economic nationhood in its various expressions. Second, we seek to bridge the currently discernible divide between historical and contemporary studies of economic nationhood. Third, our project attempts to relate the scholarship on economic nationhood to the literature on transnationalization and globalization in a more systematic way than has been done in the past. And finally, the workshop will also explore long-term changes in the relationship between economic nationhood and other forms of economic cultures below and beyond the nation.
The workshop is designed as a ‘stock-taking exercise’, where we bring together existing literatures and provide a first systematic ‘mapping’ of the field. We do not want to impose a rigid conceptual framework but would like to ask the participants to address their specific themes in a way that embeds case studies of specific countries and time periods in a more general framework, which could provide the basis for a larger comparative follow-up project. We envisage the publication of workshop papers in an edited volume and would also like to explore the potential for further collaboration in the future.